As you can probably guess, paying for links is very controversial! Search engines want links to be an objective indicator of your site’s popularity and value…paying for popularity can hardly be called an “objective” way of attracting inbound links.
While it is unlikely that Google or another major search engine would punish you for purchasing links, they may ignore purchased links when considering where your site should rank.
Knowing that purchased links may not help how your site ranks, why are we even talking about them? Two reasons. First, putting link building efforts aside, the right links from the right sites deliver more than enough traffic and customer leads to justify the expense. Second, there are plenty of indicators that certain kinds of purchased links are favored by Google and could still help your rankings.
I have 3 favorite types of purchased links:
- Buy Links from Trusted Organizations
As the saying goes, membership has its privileges. For instance, plastic surgeons might consider purchasing an enhanced listing that includes a site link from the ASPS. Also, any medical office should consider membership in their local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Links from these trusted organizations are usually only a few hundred dollars each year, just enough to cover the cost of setting up the listing and link. Also look into paid link opportunities from thought leaders in your industry and local market.
- Buy Links from City Guides
Most cities have 2 or 3 popular online guides…but finding the right ones can be tricky. The go-to site in your market may be a local newspaper Web site, a regional portal, or something more nationally oriented like CitySearch.com. Ask your patients where they get information about local happenings online and buy a listing with a link at those sites.
- Buy Links from Vertical Directories
This bullet may need a disclaimer reading, “Do Not Try at Home. For Professional Use Only.” There are literally hundreds of medical marketing directories and it’s easy to waste money if you don’t choose carefully. In fact, I’ve written an entire course on how to choose and monitor the best directory listings for your business. It’s been my experience that the smaller, well-ranked directories that do not have huge booths at medical meetings and dozens of sales staff are the best value. A smart directory buy can deliver tons of traffic in addition to a boost in your link popularity.
If you buy links, here’s the takeaway: choose carefully, evaluate thoroughly, and monitor the return diligently.
Whether you ask for, earn, or buy your links, remember that link building isn’t something you check off a to-do list. It’s an ongoing process. You need to keep “thinking about linking” as long as you own your site (or at least until Google decides that something else is more important when determining how your site will rank).
Did you miss an earlier issue in this series? Use the links below to get caught up.
Have a great weekend.